French and Malian troops have surrounded Timbuktu and are aiming to secure the city after seizing the airport. A senior military officer reported they met no resistance.
There are reports of rebels setting fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts and also handing out beatings to residents as they fled the city.
The operation comes a day after celebrations in Gao as Islamist militants were driven out of the town.
The ancient city of Timbuktu has been one of the bastions of the al Qaeda-allied fighters who have controlled the north for 10 months.
Two displaced residents gave their reaction. “I’m really glad to hear about Timbuktu because we haven’t had news for four days, networks are cut. We really worry for parents who are there. I welcome this very good news,” said one.
Another added: “Frankly, if they secure the city today, I am ready to return immediately to Timbuktu. French troops must not leave us alone then because those Islamists who fled may come back and cause problems for us. French troops have to stay a bit to stabilise the place.”
The African Union is meeting to discuss sending more troops while the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius reacted with claims that, “little by little Mali is being liberated”.
Military experts though fear the rebels could carry on a hit-and-run style guerrilla campaign.
- 1All eyes on King Tut’s tomb in search for ancient Egypt’s lost Queen Nefertiti
- 2Another border fence in Europe ahead of crucial migration summit
- 3Tension in Turkey after pro-Kurdish lawyer is shot dead
- 4COP21: climate change provokes protests of all shapes and sizes
- 5Turkey warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’ over downing of fighter jet
- 1Lavrov hits Turkey with more penalties, doubts commitment to war on “secret allies” ISIL
- 2Top Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elci shot dead in Turkey
- 3Turkey warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’ over downing of fighter jet
- 4Belgian police release new details about on-the-run fifth Paris suspect
- 5Mali: at least 3 dead in attack on UN peacekeepers base in Kidal
- 1Fate of pilots of downed Russian jet unclear
- 2Russia confirms Turks have shot down one of its planes on Syrian border
- 3Paris attacker Abdelhamid Abaaoud ‘returned to scene of shootings’
- 4Crimea: state of emergency declared
- 5Brussels remains on high alert: ‘multiple operations underway’ across Belgium
- 1Coordinated terror attacks leave dozens dead in Paris
- 2euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 31000-year-old Bible found in Turkey
- 4Bomb and several shootings in central Paris – reports of fatalities and injuries
- 5International news | euronews, latest international news
- 6Police hunting Paris attacks mastermind battle with suspects in heart of Paris
- 7European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 8world Weather | euronews: world ten day weather forecast
- 9Humans consume more than planet can produce on ‘Earth Overshoot Day’
- 10latest sci-tech news : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 11Thousands in Bucharest blame corruption for Friday’s nightclub blaze
- 12‘Anonymous’ hackers’ group declares ‘war’ on ISIL
- 13‘Maxed-out:’ Jordan’s King Abdullah II’s frank warning over Syria crisis
- 14International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 15Business news and finance news | euronews: international economic and finance news
- 16No Comment | euronews: international news images without commentary
- 17Latest News Bulletin
- 18Special Reports : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 19Hope vs harsh reality: challenges to global education goals in the 21st century
- 20Terrorist threat on Europe’s rail network, according to German tabloid
Latest world news
Tension in Turkey after pro-Kurdish lawyer is shot dead
All eyes on King Tut’s tomb in search for ancient Egypt’s lost Queen Nefertiti
Mali: rocket attack on Kidal UN base kills 3, injures 20
COP21: climate change provokes protests of all shapes and sizes
Another border fence in Europe ahead of crucial migration summit
Wires > News
- 07:19 CET Colorado shooting suspect said ‘no more baby parts’ – reports
- 06:28 CET Lie detectors, solitary: How South Korea screens refugees
- 03:11 CET Japan’s tiny refugee community urges Tokyo to open doors wider
- 01:06 CET EU hopes for Turkish help to slow migrants at summit
- 22:12 CET Greek PM fails to get opposition backing on pension reform
- 22:00 CET Top Kurdish lawyer shot dead in southeast Turkey
- 21:21 CET Putin, citing national security, signs Turkey sanctions decree
- 20:01 CET Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest ban on Islamist group